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We’re in the midst of a truly unprecedented period in the history of the energy industry. By now, millions of Americans have experienced the prolonged record cold temperatures, but many are unaware of the historic impacts this weather has had on the cost of electricity within the wholesale energy markets. As a valued member of the North American Power family, I want you to understand the cause of these high energy prices and the steps we’re taking to provide all North American Power Customers with the best possible experience in the coming weeks and months.
Extremely cold weather has a significant impact on the cost of electricity as customers turning up the heat create spikes in demand. In this particular case, this increase in demand has also combined with a decrease in supply caused by several other electricity generation issues, such as natural gas shortages. The result is record-breaking wholesale electricity prices, and unfortunately, electricity suppliers have little choice but to adjust their Variable Rates accordingly to avoid substantial losses.
You can read more about this situation in the USA Today article, “Natural Gas Soars as Cold Grips Nation”, or take a look at the chart below for a simple picture of what’s happening to wholesale energy costs in one of our markets: JCP&L in New Jersey. As you can see, January prices in JCP&L are over ten times higher than what we’ve seen over the past few years – and we’re seeing a similar picture in the majority of our other markets as well.
Like other suppliers, North American Power’s Variable Rates will also have to increase. However, unlike many other suppliers, we have already and will continue to take proactive steps to provide our Customers the best possible experience during these unpredictable events. Here are some of the steps we’ve taken so far:
- Fixed Rates: In April of 2013, we introduced Fixed Rates and soon made these offers available in almost every market we serve. As a result of this effort, the majority of our new Customers since then have chosen Fixed Rate plans and will be largely unaffected by the winter pricing.
- Customer Rate Notifications: Our dedicated and experienced team of energy analysts had previously anticipated a significant increase in electricity prices in New England. For this reason, we sent out notices to all of our Variable Rate Customers in New England informing them of the expected increase and encouraging them to choose one of our Fixed Rate plans to lock in their rate during these uncertain winter months.
- Additional Rate Notifications: Now that these issues have expanded beyond New England, we will be sending similar notices to all of our Variable Rate Customers in the states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York, New Jersey, Illinois, and Maryland. You can view the email version of this notification HERE.
While there is no requirement by any Utility Commission or regulatory body to notify our Customers of rate increases, we’re reaching out to every affected member of the North American Power family because we want each Customer to be able to make an informed decision. Our Customer Care team is available to help answer questions and assist you with your account at 888-313-9086 from Monday – Friday, 8:30 AM – 7:30 PM, and Saturday, 9:00 AM – 5:30 PM.
In closing, I want to offer you some perspective I’ve gained after over 30 years as an entrepreneur in the energy industry. In challenging situations, one thing is always very obvious: the CHALLENGE! What is less obvious, but far more important, is the OPPORTUNITY that each and every challenge presents us. Over the coming weeks and months, more people will be talking about their utility bills and energy costs than ever before. This presents you with an opportunity to share the benefits of North American Power at a time when people are most affected by the very issues that this remarkable opportunity can help solve. Now, people more than ever will be interested in hearing about the benefits of Fixed Rates, the Free Energy Challenge and our Income Opportunity, so don’t hesitate to share over the coming weeks and months.
Thank you for being a part of North American Power. I speak on behalf of all of us at the home office when I say that we’re looking forward to seizing this opportunity with you and continuing to be the Power for Change for ourselves, our communities, and our world. Let’s make 2014 our best year yet!